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Automating for Efficiency

utomation is the use of machines, control visits to obtain cash and carry out transactions. In
systems and information technologies to general, automation has been responsible for the
optimize productivity in the production shift in the world economy from industrial jobs to
of goods and delivery of services. The service jobs in the 20th and 21st centuries.
correct incentive for applying automation is to
increase productivity, and/or quality beyond The term automation, inspired by the earlier
that possible with current human labour levels word automatic (coming from automaton), was
so as to realize economies of scale, and/or real- not widely used before 1947, when General Motors
ize predictable quality levels. In the scope of established the automation department. At that
industrialisation, automation is a step beyond time automation technologies were electrical, me-
mechanization. Whereas mechanization provides chanical, hydraulic and pneumatic. Between 1957
human operators with machinery to assist them and 1964 factory output nearly doubled while the
with the muscular requirements of work, auto- number of blue collar workers started to decline.
mation greatly decreases the need for human
sensory and mental requirements while increas- Advantages and Disadvantages
ing load capacity, speed, and repeatability. In The main advantages of automation are:
process industries, automation involves using Increased throughput or productivity.
computer technology and software engineer- Improved quality or increased predictability
ing to help companies operate more efficiently of quality.
and safely. In the absence of process automation, Improved robustness (consistency), of proc-
plant operators have to physically monitor per- esses or product.
formance values and the quality of outputs to Increased consistency of output.
determine the best settings on which to run the Reduced direct human labor costs and expenses.
t production equipment.
The following methods are often employed to
e This generally results in operational inefficiency improve productivity, quality, or robustness.
and unsafe operating conditions, and thats why Install automation in operations to reduce
c process automation and control is so crtitical to cycle time.
the refining and petrochemicals industries. Install automation where a high degree of ac-
h curacy is required.
n Automation Plays an Increasingly Important Role
Automation has had a notable impact in a wide
Replacing human operators in tasks that involve
hard physical or monotonous work.[3]
o range of industries beyond manufacturing (where Replacing humans in tasks done in dangerous
it began). Once-ubiquitous telephone operators environments (i.e. fire, space, volcanoes, nuclear
l have been replaced largely by automated tel- facilities, underwater, etc.)
ephone switchboards and answering machines. Performing tasks that are beyond human capa-
o Medical processes such as primary screening in bilities of size, weight, speed, endurance, etc.
electrocardiography or radiography and labora- Economic improvement: Automation may im-
g tory analysis of human genes, sera, cells, and prove in economy of enterprises, society or most
y tissues are carried out at much greater speed of humanity. For example, when an enterprise
and accuracy by automated systems. Automated invests in automation, technology recovers its
teller machines have reduced the need for bank investment; or when a state or country increases
Feature 34 HYDROCARBON ASIA, apr-june 2014 Visit our website at:
its income due to automation like Germany or to be installed manually. This is rapidly being
Japan in the 20th Century. transitioned to automated machine installation,
Reduces operation time and work handling because the error rate for manual installment was
time significantly. around 1-1.5%, but has been reduced to 0.00001%
Frees up workers to take on other roles. with automation.
Provides higher level jobs in the development,
deployment, maintenance and running of the The costs of automation to the environment are
automated processes. different depending on the technology, product or
engine automated. There are automated engines
The main disadvantages of automation are: that consume more energy resources from the Earth
Security Threats/Vulnerability: An automated in comparison with previous engines and those
system may have a limited level of intelligence, that do the opposite too. Hazardous operations,
and is therefore more susceptible to committing such as oil refining, the manufacturing of industrial
errors outside of its immediate scope of knowl- chemicals, and all forms of metal working, were
edge (e.g., it is typically unable to apply the rules always early contenders for automation.
of simple logic to general propositions).
Unpredictable/excessive development costs: Reduced risk comes from using control systems
The research and development cost of automat- like safety instrumented systems to safely shut-
ing a process may exceed the cost saved by the down a plant when an unsafe condition arises, to
automation itself. properly use alarms to alert operators of abnormal
High initial cost: The automation of a new situations, and to use cyber security techniques to
product or plant typically requires a very large minimize chance of accidental or malicious misuse
initial investment in comparison with the unit of computer control systems.
cost of the product, although the cost of auto-
mation may be spread among many products Automation Tools
and over time. Engineers can now have numerical control over
automated devices. The result has been a rapidly
In manufacturing, the purpose of automation has expanding range of applications and human
shifted to issues broader than productivity, cost, activities. Computer-aided technologies (or CAx)
and time. now serve the basis for mathematical and or-
ganizational tools used to create complex systems.
Reliability and Precision Notable examples of CAx include Computer-aided
The old focus on using automation simply to in- design (CAD software) and Computer-aided manu-
crease productivity and reduce costs was seen to be facturing (CAM software). The improved design,
short-sighted, because it is also necessary to provide a analysis, and manufacture of products enabled by
skilled workforce who can make repairs and manage CAx has been beneficial for industry.
the machinery. Moreover, the initial costs of auto-
mation were high and often could not be recovered Information technology, together with industrial
by the time entirely new manufacturing processes machinery and processes, can assist in the design,
replaced the old. (Japan's "robot junkyards" were implementation, and monitoring of control sys-
once world famous in the manufacturing industry.) tems. One example of an industrial control system
is a programmable logic controller (PLC). PLCs
Automation is now often applied primarily to in- are specialized hardened computers which are
crease quality in the manufacturing process, where frequently used to synchronize the flow of inputs
automation can increase quality substantially. For from (physical) sensors and events with the flow of
example, internal combustion engine pistons used outputs to actuators and events.

HYDROCARBON ASIA, apr-june 2014 35

Human-machine interfaces (HMI) or computer controllers, operator terminals and actuators.
human interfaces (CHI), formerly known as man- A PAS is often based on open standards in
machine interfaces, are usually employed to com- contrast to a DCS (distributed control system),
municate with PLCs and other computers. Service which is traditionally proprietary. However in
personnel who monitor and control through HMIs recent times the PAS is considered to be more
can be called by different names. In industrial associated with SCADA systems.
process and manufacturing environments, they
are called operators or something similar. In boiler PAS is the lowest level of automation, while MES
houses and central utilities departments they are (manufacturing execution system) is considered
called stationary engineers. to be directly positioned above a PAS.

Limitations to Automation Process automation involves using computer

Current technology is unable to automate all technology and software engineering to help
the desired tasks. power plants and factories in industries as di-
As a process becomes increasingly automated, verse as paper, mining and cement operate more
there is less and less labor to be saved or efficiently and safely.
quality improvement to be gained. This is an
example of both diminishing returns and the Automation System Providers
logistic function. As is usually the case it is not the operators who
Similar to the above, as more and more proc- usually develop technologies used in the plants
esses become automated, there are fewer re- or refineries. The independent vendors are left
maining non-automated processes. This is an with that task.
example of exhaustion of opportunities. New
technological paradigms may however set Emerson's Automation Helps BP's
new limits that surpass the previous limits. Whiting Refinery Boost Heavy-Crude
Capacity More Than Four-Fold
Many roles for humans in industrial proc-
esses presently lie beyond the scope of au- Emerson Process Management has
tomation. Human-level pattern recognition, completed process automation for BPs
language comprehension, and language pro- modernization of its refinery in Whiting,
duction ability are well beyond the capabilities Indiana. As main automation contrac-
of modern mechanical and computer systems. tor for the massive upgrade, Emerson
Tasks requiring subjective assessment or provided technologies and services that
synthesis of complex sensory data, such as helped enable the Chicago-area refinery
scents and sounds, as well as high-level tasks to modernize its facility to process ad-
such as strategic planning, currently require vantaged crude supplies.
human expertise. In many cases, the use of
humans is more cost-effective than mechani- The Whiting project is one of the
cal approaches even where automation of largest, most complex startups for which
industrial tasks is possible. weve served as main automation contrac-
tor, noted Steve Sonnenberg, president
Automation Systems of Emerson Process Management. We
A process control or automation system is congratulate BP on its success and ap-
used to automatically control a process such preciate the opportunity to have helped
as chemical plants and oil refineries. The PAS make it happen.
often uses a network to interconnect sensors,
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automation control technology. Inherited the best
To facilitate commissioning and star- characteristics of our previous DCS, the HOLLiAS
tup of BPs new crude distillation unit, MACS-SM series brings you the next revolution
coking unit, gas oil hydrotreater, and step in providing better information, critical
sulfur complex units, Emerson drew on control, high performance, and operational
the resources of its engineering centers readiness. It is an open system platform that is
around the world. This global Emerson extremely reliable and flexible in configuration
team -- with personnel from the U.S., providing a complete solution to your plant
India, Costa Rica, and the Philippines automation needs.
-- included more than 80 engineers, con-
sultants, and technical specialists. A core With many successful installations, HOLLiAS
team will support BP throughout 2014 MACS has already achieved international global
as the refinery increases production of standard through the implementation of up to
heavy-sour crude. The startup of one of 1000 megawatt large-scale power plant applica-
largest investments in BP history enables tion. We also have some other specialized solu-
major refinery to begin processing more tions such as Digital Electro Hydraulic (DEH)
heavy-sour Canadian crude. and Emergency Trip System (ETS) for certain
specific industry.
The following
are some ven-
dors who pro-
vide automation

HollySys has
over ten years
of experience in
DCS platform
for the plant
managers, en-
gineers, and
control room
operators. All
this promotes
the development of new generation DCS fea- The DCS platform - HOLLiAS MACS-SM
turing total integration and they are proud to series delivers the perfect process control and
recommend their fourth generation DCS family overall enterprise level management with in-
of solution -- The HOLLiAS MACS-SM. tegration of field devices, PLC, MES, and ERP.
It is widely utilized in the process industries of
HollySys process automation product branded power generation, nuclear power, oil and gas
as HOLLiAS which stands for (HollySys In- process, petrochemical, chemicals, pharmaceu-
tegrated Industrial Automation System). As a ticals, pulp and paper, metals and minerals,
leading supplier in automation control industry, cement, beverage, glass, metallurgical, other
HollySys developed its fourth generation control environmental protection, water and waste
system platform based on international advanced process, and much more.

HYDROCARBON ASIA, apr-june 2014 37

Features tion and expansion, acting as the main automation
Profibus-DP fieldbus technology contractor for new greenfield sites, managing the
o decentralized risks and control security of process control networks and main-
o centralized supervision in real time taining field instrumentation, control systems and
o centralized or decentralized the I/O mod- advanced applications to maximize availability
ules and users business potential.
Industry Ethernet technology
Real-time communication One of Honeywell's core service offerings is its
Stable networking integrated main automation contractor (I-MAC)
High security and safety approach that builds upon the foundation of tra-
Flexible system architecture ditional MAC to ensure operational and business
Supporting wide range of I/O from 10,000 to readiness from day one of operations.
100,000 I/O points
Open system architecture supporting OPC Invensys
industrial standards The Foxboro PAC (Programmable Automation
Control) System is a high-performance automa-
Honeywell tion controller solution integrated within the
Honeywells next-generation control system, Wonderware System Platform using ArchestrA
Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS), technology.
integrated with Safety Manager, creates a unified
platform that offers a single operating view of The Foxboro PAC hardware marries high per-
safety and automation systems in plant opera- formance, reliability and high |/O density with
tions while maintaining the required separation cost-effective redundancy options. The process
and redundancy. modules and |/O system form the basis of a
complete distributed control and recording en-
The automation solution increases process avail- vironment capable of continuous analog, logic,
ability, production and profitability of the plant, and sequential control combined with secure data
while ensuring safety and security of personnel, recording at point-of-measurement; all designed
equipment and the plant environment. to maximize return on investment (ROI).

Honeywells wide range of security systems pro- Hardware Benefits

vides multiple layers of protection to avoid incidents Multi-function control, recording, batch, recipe
in the plant and minimize impact to protect people and visualization in a single box dramatically
and assets. Know-how from UOP, a Honeywell reduces cost of project implementation
company, can also be incorporated in the design Compliance with FDA regulation 21 CFR Part
and layout of graphics, regulatory control strategies 11 provides significant benefits by reducing the
and Safety Manager. time required to validate the file system
High-performance control in a versatile
Honeywell offers a range of engineering serv- modular system
ices, adding intelligence to the real-time system, To increase process availability it is a trivial
managing operations and maximizing return matter of plugging in a second controller
on investment. It is the only automation service Automated whole system restore
provider that continues to support products de-
veloped and installed more than 30 years ago. Complete Integration Benefits
Labor savings are achieved from tight integra-
Services range from project engineering to migra- tion of the IEC 61131 Part 3 software tools
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Powerful and reliable control system at an af- Yokogawas VigilantPlant Solutions, designed to
fordable price achieve the ideal plant operations. CENTUM VP
Additional security of your system is guaranteed brings you better information visibility, perform-
through close coupling with the Galaxy ance foresight, and operational agility.
Accelerated application programming
System connectivity utilizes a standard Ethernet A number of CENTUM V systems (1983~) are still
communications backbone in operation in industrial plants, which is a good
Application programming greatly benefits from example of our long-term commitment in customer
a significant reduction in configuration time and supports. Generations of the CENTUM series pro-
engineering costs duction control systems can be interconnected and
Run time operator changes to setpoint programs interactively operated, i. e. the CENTUM VP system
are easily and securely implemented (2008 ~) controls and monitors CENTUM-XL system
Automatic high integrity data recording (1988 ~) via bus converter. Or, bi-directional control
The automated process of forwarding the data and monitoring is established in between CENTUM
to the configured Historian, even after a com- CS 3000 (1998 ~) and CENTUM VP.
munications failure, removes the requirement
for any human intervention Yokogawa ensures the long-time support of the
With a fully integrated system that encapsulates legacy systems and minimizes the upgrading cost by
the whole process the plant managers have a utilizing the existing systems as much as possible.
clear view of their production environment
Industry leading HMI visualization with Won- References
derware InTouch HMI software Emerson
Yokogawa Honeywell
CENTUM VP is the newest series of Yokogawas Invensys
integrated production control system, so called DCS. Wikipedia
We accumulated our over 35 years of knowledge Yokogawa HA Enquiry Number 04/06-03
and experience of de-
veloping and selling the
DCS in the market into
this new product.

CENTUM VP has more

intuitive human machine
interface, a large-capacity
field control station to
process data faster yet
without failure. Pair &
spare configuration of
the CPU ensures non
stop operations with
99.99999% (seven-9s) of
high availability.

the core platform of

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